April campaign highlights One Call system to locate all underground utility lines
CHATHAM, ON, April 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Union Gas is reminding customers and contractors that one simple phone call can make digging safe, particularly as a warm spring brings an early beginning to the construction season.
The Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) - of which Union Gas is a proud founding member - has designated April as Dig Safe Month. The campaign is reminding Ontarians that whether they are planning a full basement renovation or a simple landscaping project, all projects need to begin with a call to Ontario One Call at 1-800-400-2255 or a visit to on1call.com one week before any digging. The call will ensure underground pipes, telephone, cable, hydro or sewer mains are located and marked so you know where it is safe to dig before your project gets underway.
Even small projects like planting trees and shrubs or putting in a fence can easily damage the network of underground gas pipes, cables and wires that brings essential services to homes and businesses. If these lines are struck, they can cause potentially serious personal injuries or even a public emergency. In addition, digging without a utility line locate can disrupt utility services to entire neighbourhoods and could result in liability for costs associated with repairs. In fact, third party damage to underground utilities costs customers and municipalities more than $39 million a year.
"Almost 40 per cent of incidents involving damage to Union Gas pipelines are related to customers or contractors digging without first obtaining the location of underground utilities. A further 57 per cent result from not following the utility locates or other unsafe digging practices," says Mike Shannon, vice president of distribution operations for Union Gas. "Call before you dig, respect the marks and dig with care - that's the simple message behind Dig Safe Month."
As one way to promote the Dig Safe message during April, Union Gas will be flying special flags at all its main offices across the province. Through ORCGA, the company will also continue to advocate for the proposed Ontario One Call Act, which, if passed, would bring in a single, mandatory one call locate system that would require all asset owners to participate. Known as Bill 8, it was introduced last fall by Conservative MPP Bob Bailey and NDP MPP Paul Miller. It passed second reading and this month legislative committee hearings get underway to further study the issue.
Visit uniongas.com/safety for more information about safe digging practices.
About Union Gas
Union Gas Limited is a major Canadian natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company based in Ontario with 100 years of experience and service to customers. The distribution business serves about 1.4 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 400 communities across northern, southwestern and eastern Ontario. Union Gas' growing storage and transmission business offers premium storage and transportation services to customers at the Dawn Hub, the largest underground storage facility in Canada and one of the largest in North America. It offers customers an important link in the movement of natural gas from Western Canadian and U.S. supply basins to markets in central Canada and the northeast U.S. Union Gas, one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2012, is a Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE) company with assets of $5.6 billion and approximately 2,200 employees. For more information, visit uniongas.com.
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